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Sunny Mountain looking for new digs

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(From left) Sunny Mountain Day Care Centre program supervisor Chery Yaworski, board member Shelley Patterson, executive director Debra Page and assistant director Claire Ferrer.)

PHOTO BY JARED STORY Enlarge Image

(From left) Sunny Mountain Day Care Centre program supervisor Chery Yaworski, board member Shelley Patterson, executive director Debra Page and assistant director Claire Ferrer.) Photo Store

Sunny Mountain Day Care Centre wants a new home.

The child care centre, located at 1965 Main St. since 1999, recently launched a capital campaign towards the acquisition of a new lot and building. Sunny Mountain executive director Debra Page estimates the daycare needs to raise $1.5 million in the next two years to go towards the estimated $3.5 million total cost of an approximately 10,000 square foot facility.

Sunny Mountain’s current facility is 5,986 square feet, occupying five units at its strip mall-style location. The daycare houses just over 100 kids, from infants up to school-aged children. Page said lack of space is an issue, not just in the building, but outside too, with no greenspace on the property.

"We’ve got Kildonan Park and Leila Park, but now the playground in Leila Park, they reconstructed it and the play structure is for ages six and up, so that eliminates our preschoolers," Page said. "It’s really hard to say ‘You can’t go on the play structure, you can play in the grass.’ Also, when we do walk to Kildonan Park, the washrooms aren’t always open, and that’s quite a walk for their little legs.

"Also, the few parking stalls we do have for this building is our infant playground space. We only have one parking stall for the staff. The street parking around here is two hours parking, so the staff has to park on Armstrong or a couple blocks away or move their car every two hours."

In addition to space concerns, Page said the daycare’s roof leaks and the rent is high — approximately $96,000 a year and rising. Page said Sunny Mountain would much rather own a building, and they’re willing to go to the distance to make that happen, even if that means renaming the centre after a generous donor.

"We have no problem (renaming the daycare). Sunny Mountain is the entity that oversees all the centres," said Page, referring to the fact that Sunny Mountain also operates satellite locations at École Belmont, Governor Semple School, Sherwood School and a soon to be completed day care at Victory School.  

"The daycare sign here says Sunny Mountain, but it can be renamed."

Sunny Mountain board member Shelley Patterson, whose four-year-old son Daniel visits the daycare, said she’s committed to helping the daycare find a space, even after her son stops attending, because she believes in its child care program.

"Just seeing what this facility offers, it’s not just a daycare, there’s heart and soul here," Patterson said. "Honestly, it makes going to work a lot easier. It’s hard to let your child come into a daycare, so you want to be able to bring them somewhere where you know they’ll be taken care of. I come here any time of the day and they’re taken care of. It’s very important tome that other parents can go to work and be able to feel the same."

Page said a new location would allow the daycare to add to that parental peace of mind.

"Just more of a home environment, that’s the direction I want to go with the centre, so the children are going from their home to their day care home," Page said.

To donate to Sunny Mountain’s capital campaign, visit the day care or call 204-334-7075.

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